Representatives at NEXUS say they are engineering a “smart connected building” — and in the process adding a new dimension to urban living.

Share story

SEATTLE — As the Burrard Group prepares to begin construction on the NEXUS condominium tower this winter, it isn’t only the high-rise itself that the builder will be breaking ground on, but also a new product category for residential real estate: the “smart connected building.”

“Seattle is ready for NEXUS,” says Christian Chan, executive vice president of the Burrard Group. “It’s about time that a city recognized globally for innovation, technology and cloud computing met a residential community that could keep pace.”

In the same way that the award-winning architects at Weber Thompson have crafted the physical environment, the computing team at Seattle-based Sirqul is engineering the digital environment — and in the process adding a new dimension to urban living, Chan says.

Robert Frederick, president and CEO of Sirqul, will chair a committee of engineering and lifestyle experts to explore and deliver the high-tech platform at NEXUS. Frederick is a MIT grad and MIT Technology Review Magazine TR 100 award winner, having authored 32 issued patents and participated in numerous social and tech startups.

“Smart spaces within residential communities will eventually be as expected as indoor plumbing, but it takes thought leaders like the Burrard Group to change the paradigm,” Frederick says. “Together we aim to deliver a future-proof environment that will greatly enhance the lifestyle offering of NEXUS while improving the overall efficiency of its operation.”

The Sirqul team will program an agnostic system using a combination of hardware devices and cloud services that will tie into a custom app for residents, guests, building staff and third-party providers. The team is reviewing and testing the latest evolutions in home automation and smart systems involving lighting, climate control, security, entertainment, plugs and appliances. Other innovative explorations include voice and gesture activation, and proximity detection systems.

Robert Frederick (left) of Sirqul and Christian Chan of the Burrard Group discuss the high-tech features that are planned at NEXUS.
Robert Frederick (left) of Sirqul and Christian Chan of the Burrard Group discuss the high-tech features that are planned at NEXUS.

Sirqul and the Burrard Group are in the process of establishing a “living lab,” to be located in the forthcoming NEXUS sales center. Prospective homebuyers, real estate brokers and service providers will be invited to collaborate on testing ideas and technologies.

“Recognizing the fast pace of advancement in this burgeoning field, the lab will serve to continually advance the user experience and integrate new technologies in real time as they become available, allowing the offering to be as current as possible when the building delivers in 2019,” Frederick says.“Once the latest, greatest and best-in-class solutions have been specified, buyers will be offered optional ‘smart’ enhancements for their future home.

“Our platform will enable numerous third-party products to talk to each other at the edge and through the cloud via a custom mobile app, websites and in-building kiosks. Our approach allows for new technologies and products to arrive to market and be considered for implementation. This is the future of living, in beta.”

He says Sirqul is considering gamification to encourage NEXUS residents to be responsible with utility consumption and envisions a points system with potential rewards being offered by service providers.
“If you score among the top 10 percent of most-efficient users of energy and water in the building, that would earn perks from our approved vendors,” Frederick says.

In addition to the building’s tech touches, NEXUS will also feature innovative floor plans and robust amenities, says Dean Jones, president and CEO of Seattle-based Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty.

“NEXUS is a game changer on many levels, and a sense of excitement and community has already begun to develop amongst our buyers,” he says. “We haven’t even broken ground yet; imagine what a few years of programming will do.”

A seventh-floor common area will include a co-working space with a meeting room; media great room for entertaining; pet lounge with indoor and outdoor spaces; fitness center; and several guest suites for overnight visitors.

Rather than building a collection of penthouse units on the 41st floor, The Burrard Group will create the Sky Club as a community space for all residents with a fireside lounge; public and private dining facilities; games room; and outdoor terrace with barbecues, fire pits and entertainment systems.

According to Chan, the Sky Club at NEXUS was inspired by the original Cloud Room atop the former Camlin Hotel at Ninth Avenue and Pike Street. The penthouse lounge was Seattle’s landmark piano bar and played host to legendary artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley before its closure in 2003.

“Fast forward 70 years, and the Cloud Room is reinterpreted in 2019 high atop NEXUS, but this time the cosmopolitan lifestyle is available to own and will provide a lifetime of opportunities enhanced by technology,” Chan says. “Looking back, who would have guessed that living in the cloud would take on so much meaning.”

Since the opening in June of a limited preview center, prospective buyers have reserved the opportunity to pre-purchase 80 percent of the 374 homes at NEXUS. Each reservation requires a fully refundable $5,000 deposit.

When the sales center opens in the coming months, those reservations will convert to firm purchase and sales agreements, with buyers putting 5 percent earnest money down on homes offered at preferred presale pricing from the low $300,000s to more than $3 million.